Maid­stone hit sea­son’s goal

Upper Hutt Leader - - SPORT - NICHOLAS BOYACK

It has been a great few weeks for Up­per Hutt sport.

On Satur­day, Up­per Hutt Maid­stone United beat Nae­nae Col­le­gians United White 47-37 to de­fend their Hutt Val­ley net­ball ti­tle.

The Up­per Hutt Foot­ball Club re­cently won the Welling­ton women’s foot­ball ti­tle and St Pa­trick’s Col­lege Sil­ver­stream claimed the col­lege rugby ti­tle. Up­per Hutt also proved un­stop­pable in win­ning rugby’s Hard­ham Cup.

Net­ball coach Fran Sc­ho­ley spent Satur­day night cel­e­brat­ing with her play­ers and re­flect­ing on what has been a top sea­son.

‘‘We had a few glasses of wine into the wee hours of the morn­ing at home and we just talked about the sea­son.’’

Maid­stone lost one game all sea­son and Sc­ho­ley said the play­ers worked hard to win the ti­tle.

Her team made a great start in the fi­nal and al­ways held the lead.

Nae­nae mounted a fight back in the fourth quar­ter to get to within two points but were un­able to sus­tain their chal­lenge.

‘‘We man­aged to set­tle down and ex­tend the lead to 10 points,’’ Sc­ho­ley said.

Like all coaches, Sc­ho­ley pre­ferred to talk about the team rather than in­di­vid­ual play­ers but said there were some good per­for­mances in the fi­nal.

‘‘Louise Wharakura in de­fence turned over some great ball and was re­ally, re­ally vo­cal.’’

Oth­ers to stand out in­cluded Tay­lor Green, El­iza Lloyd Jones and cap­tain Renee Kassey.

The rise of Up­per Hutt rep­re­sents a chang­ing of the guard in Hutt Val­ley net­ball, af­ter Nae­nae dom­i­nated for much of the last two decades.

Sc­ho­ley said the team was likely to stay to­gether and she was al­ready look­ing for­ward to 2018.

One per­son who was ex­tra pleased was Mayor Wayne Guppy, who played in a celebrity match be­fore the fi­nal.

Dressed in a green tutu, Sc­ho­ley said Guppy had bit of work to do on his shoot­ing.

‘‘I don’t think we will be re­cruit­ing him in a hurry.’’

Guppy said it was al­ways nice to see an Up­per Hutt team do well.

Like the rugby and women’s foot­ball teams, Guppy said the net­ball win re­sulted from good coach­ing and prepa­ra­tion.

‘‘They had an out­stand­ing year with a team that is mostly home grown.’’

He was also pleased with the sup­port the team re­ceived, which he said was a fea­ture of Up­per Hutt sport.

PHO­TOS: AN­DREW TURNER

Maid­stone cen­tre Tay­lor Green had a top game. On Satur­day her team won its third suc­ces­sive Hutt Val­ley net­ball ti­tle. Left, player of the match, Maid­stone goal­keeper Louise Wharakura.

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